Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Exciting news!

But not shocking - Pip is still safely in the womb where s/he should be. However, the news is not un-related to Pip and his/her arrival - Karen and I are finally getting around to registering as Civil Partners! The Civil Partnership Act came into law in the UK at the end of 2005, and it enables same-sex couples to legally register their relationship, and to gain many legal rights which put them on a nearly, but not quite, equal footing to married couples.

We have been meaning to get around to organising our Civil Partnership for the last year, and had originally intended to do it last September. However, first ttc, and then pregnancy rather got in the way of planning the event, and we also had very different ideas initially of what we wanted it to be. Karen wanted a very private ceremony (if she could do away with the legal requirement for 2 witnesses then she would!), followed by a big party for virtually everyone we know, but without any real mention of the fact of our civil partnership at the party. Whereas I wanted it to be close friends and family, who would be able to be a part of the ceremony, followed by a gathering at home or a nice meal out. In other words, I wanted it to be something closer to an actual wedding, as I wanted our friends/family to view it as being as significant in our lives as a wedding would be. So it all got rather fraught for a while, and by the time we had worked out a compromise, it was then rather late to organise anything for our proposed date (and I was in the 1st tri and didn't exactly have the necessary energy to do so).

As it is, we have decided to separate the legal and celebratory parts, so that we can have the legal ceremony before Pip is born (as long as s/he doesn't decide to arrive before February 9th!), and then we'll have a party in the summer to celebrate both our Civil Partnership, and our baby's arrival. My youngest sister Fran and (hopefully) Karen's cousin Patsy will be our witnesses for the legalities; my mother will be back from her current trip to Australia to visit my middle sister and so will able to be there, and we may also invite a few more friends to join us for a celebratory lunch afterwards.

The main benefit of getting the Civil Partnership done now rather than later (quite apart from the fact that having a new baby to keep us busy might mean that we keep putting it off) is that Karen will be able to get Parental Responsibility for Pip very easily; it's just a case of getting the right forms and getting them rubber-stamped at the court. Without being civil partners, we would have to go to court, probably with a lawyer, and argue Karen's case for having Parental Responsibility granted. And of course we'll end up with all sorts of other legal rights as a result of being civil partners, especially regarding tax and inheritance. We really must get wills written up - something we've been meaning to do ever since we bought our first property together about 10 years ago!

Even though we are essentially doing this for the legalities, I'm really quite excited about it happening at long last. And of course, it is wonderful that we are confirming our commitment to each other, and to the outside world (even though we won't tell most people until after the event). So now we need to decide what we want in terms of a ceremony (readings, music etc., although this is all optional - the actual CP registration is simply a matter of signing a few documents!), buy some rings to exchange, and maybe get something new/special to wear. We won't have a professional photographer or anything fancy, but I will organise some flowers, and bake us a special cake to celebrate the day.